A CLOSE encounter with a menacing crocodile was not exactly what I had in mind for last night but, with panto, anything goes.

The giant, lifelike and rather terrifying creature moved stealthily above the audience, fearless acrobats jumped over, under and through flames and some of musical theatre's most incredible performers took the lead roles in what was hands down the most spectacular pantomime I've ever had the joy to witness.

A delight from start to finish, this high-flying adventure has something for everyone and audiences should expect the unexpected.

Enjoy crocodiles dancing in pink tutus, a spinning galleon, sword fights, fart jokes, a flying motorbike and a naked Grumbleweed on roller boots among a host of memorable moments.

Sticking vaguely to JM Barrie's classic fairytale, with plenty of ad libs, asides, songs and adventure, this is a fast paced show which requires bags of energy from the impressive cast and even the audience who are encouraged to play a major part in the proceedings.

The big names certainly don't disappoint.

As well as taking a major role in writing the songs for the show, Marti Pellow made a menacing Captain Hook and was predictably strong vocally.

Darren Day as Smee was almost ever present on stage and held the whole show together. A likeable presence on stage, he showed excellent comic timing and superb impersonationsof everyone from Mark Owen to Joe Pasquale.

Jaymi Hensley manages to juggle singing and flying with aplomb in the titular and pirates The Grumbleweeds and their wonderfully silly skits keep everyone entertained throughout the show, which runs just over two and a half hours.

This is a production that appeals across the board. My friend and I and our children, aged 13, ten and five, were all roaring with laughter throughout, sometimes for the same reason, sometimes not. The clever script means Peter Pan can be appreciated on many levels and is a wonderful festive treat for all the family.

Its Christmas run continues until Sunday January 5, but the clock inside that croc is already ticking. Don't miss it.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811